Objections to electorate changes

BEN HEATHER
Last updated 10:38 14/01/2014

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Peter Dunne's stronghold of Ohariu should be renamed Wellington North and shouldn't include Wadestown, according to public objectors.

The Electoral Commission this morning released objections to changes to electoral boundaries announced late last year.

Unsurprisingly, Christchurch and Auckland drew the most objections, but even some minor changes in the Wellington region have raised a few eyebrows.

Two people have objected to the boundaries of the Ohariu being extended to include Wadestown, which they considered more properly part of central Wellington.

Another two suggested Ohariu was not the best name, offering North or West Wellington as alternatives.

Similarly, one objector suggested the Wellington electorate of Rongotai should be renamed to one that reflected the bigger suburbs within its boundaries, such as Miramar or Lyall Bay, or simply Wellington East.

Six people also objected to where the border had been drawn between Rimutaka and Hutt South, with claims that the altered boundaries had split some communities in two.

Another four objectors, including the local council and Labour party, have objected to the small town of Shannon being moved from contested Otaki electorate into the more strongly National Rangitikei.

In Hawke's Bay, five people object to the Napier electorate including several towns and communities they considered more closely linked with Gisborne.

One person suggested the electorate had become so large it should be renamed "Hawkes Bay".

Counter-objections can be lodge with the Electoral Commission till January 29.

PROPOSED ELECTORATE CHANGES

After the 2013 census, electorate boundary changes were proposed based on a formula which ensures electorates have a similar number of people to ensure equal representation.

As a result of the proposed changes there will be 64 general electorates, 48 in the North island and 16 in the South Island, and seven Maori electorates. 
In Auckland, the Waitakere electorate, held by MP Paula Bennett, disappears. Ms Bennett will have to stand in one of two new Auckland seats or go on the party list.

The two new Auckland seats are Kelston and Upper Harbour, which is tipped as a possible prize for the Conservative Party, whose leader Colin Craig is being courted by National as a post-election ally.

The Upper Harbour seat draws from East Coast Bays, Te Atatu and Prime Minister John Key's Helensville seat.

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In Christchurch, major boundary changes are proposed because of population movement following the earthquakes. The most significant changes are in Christchurch East, Christchurch Central and Selwyn.

In other changes, Hamilton West has lost some voters to Taranaki King Country and gained population from Hamilton East and Waikato.

Rotorua now includes Te Puke, East Coast extends to Kawerau, and Whanganui has been extended North to include Stratford.

The boundaries for 13 other North Island electorates are unchanged - Northland, Whangarei, Northcote, North Shore, Manurewa, Mangere,  Pakuranga, Taupo, Tukituki, Wairarapa, Palmerston North, Mana and Rongotai.

In the South Island, boundaries for nelson, Kaikoura, West-Coast Tasman, Dunedin South, Clutha-Southland, Invercargill and Ilam are unchanged.

The Maori electorates were also unchanged.  

- The Dominion Post

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